Our India is a Sufi

The Journalist and the Prostitute

“What is you name ?”
The Indian journalist covering the Bangladesh war asked the prostitute
“Selma”
“Tell me the truth, what is your real name”
Gauri
“Then why did you lie”
“Aren’t you a Hindu , I assumed a Muslim name to give you the turn on of invasion”

- O V Vijayan’s Gurusagaram

The Poison of Inheritance

It is the printing technology of the West that made us so fond of maps. In schools they made us work overtime to clearly draw the boundaries of India, they punished us for every little curve we missed and while lying to us about Kashmir. But they never told us the difference between the human beings on either side of the line, they just told us the others are our enemies as if it was obvious . Maybe thats what their parents taught them, which becomes our inheritance.

The poison of inheritance runs through each one of us and we, after our day long struggle with our tiny big insecurities, go home to the comfort of those inheritances – of being an upper caste or lower caste Hindu, a Muslim ,a Sikh, a Christian, a Bengali, a Tamilian and a thousand other things. We have deep running prejudices against each other, the Hindus think the Muslims are invaders and terror mongers and the Christians are out there to convert them, the Muslim thinks the Hindus are out there to kill them, the North Indian thinks South India is some other country, Andhraites who can’t stand the tamilians and the tamilians who think everyone else want to steal their water and their classical language, Biharis are called illegal aliens in the mountains and in Assam; Nagaland and Manipur does not believe in India and the rest of India does not believe these places exist.

We are prejudiced to the core with our deep rooted inheritances and one fine day they pull one billion of us together and say we are a republic. The deep divisions and conflicts within us that defeats us every single day go by the pet name of “Unity in diversity” ; our teachers force us to write essays on that till our hands pain and our brain fatigues.

We build walls around certain colonial demarcations and live smug faced within those walls entrenched in one thousand riots stretching from Kashmir to Vadodara, from Kaveri to Singur and from Narmada to Garo-Khasi. If we do all this in the name of security and in the name of development, why dont we build walls around Assam,Kashmir,Gujarat,Manipur,Punjab and then around each state,district and finally around each human being who lives here. We call ourselves a republic, one billion people suspicious of each other within artificial boundaries with tickets to a tryst with destiny. Is there a more horrible sight in the world than a republic with borders ? Yes there is, a republic with borders with people in it with no clue why they are there.

Holy left-overs of a colonial past

What makes us build walls with Pakistan and Bangladesh? That same thing makes us suspicious of one another, the same thing makes us build nuclear bombs and the same thing makes the Indian state a miserable failure. At the root of the problem lies the acceptance of the “majority’s culture” as the mainstream and the treatment of the minority’s culture as an aberration. The hidden grudge against the aberration will wait for a chance and once sparks start flying, the powder house of pent up emotions explode – like Gujarat , like the Anti-Sikh riots of Delhi ’84 and more than anything the Partition of India.

We followed the post 1857 colonial idea of division by defining the Indian culture as Hindu culture – which was not true. Then in our textbooks and history books we defined the Manusmrithi and Arthashastra which belonged to a microscopic minority as our mainstream culture – which was not true. Then we placed vegetarianism and cow worship as core ideas of Hindu worship which was not true. Well we did make the British leave,but we inherited their colonial droppings.

The republic’s boundary is nothing but a tool of exploitation. The map-bound spirit of extreme nationalism helps nobody but the capitalist bourgeois who actually controls every sphere of this nation. Nationalism is a right-wing rallying point in India, issue after issue, atleast after Nehru. The border-defined-republic is the worst case of usurping land and nature, the height of state sponsored hypocrisy. The “developmental” future of the republic and its dependency on the bourgeois and foreign funds has been so ingrained in our psyche by the border-defined-republic that we are ready to sacrifice lives and livelihood for the republic’s “future”.Each of us feel the “turn on” of invasion when troops are rallied in our northern borders, and some of us at the height of our xenophobic orgasm cry “nuke the bastards,just nuke them !”The national boundary and the wars over it makes us more intolerant, and at times it makes us ask the Indian Muslim to go back to Pakistan,where he didn’t come from.

Its in vogue to criticize Gandhi, but the fact remains that he was one of the few people who understood the importance of a multi-cultural secularist India, who understood what India really stood for in the world and the importance of worshipping Ishwar and Allah together. There was this other person who claimed to have discovered India but ended up discovering a throne for his daughter and grandson.

Our India is a Sufi

Every nation has a destiny, the republic is just another oppressive roadblock in the nations path. If the undying urge for individual freedom is the corner stone of western civilization, for India it is our spirituality. Our spirituality which time and again has refused to inherit lies,inherit hypocrisy and inherit tyranny. It is the denial of inheritance that Krishna talked about in Gita, that is exactly what Buddha did , Kabir and Nanak practiced and Gandhi died for. The partitioned India is our inheritance and it is upon us to deny it or build walls to protect our patriarchal fortune. If India is a mother we should find her.

There is no India without Pakistan and Bangladesh and Nepal and SriLanka. Our destinies and our myths are so entwined. We would, I hope one day define what India really means and discover her in all her glory and her all encompassing Sanathanadharma. We can deny Gandhi and Mohammed, Nanak and Kabir, Krishna and Buddha, but we shouldn’t overlook the underlying love in their messages which runs through this nation. Our philosophy doesn’t differentiate between plants and animals, then where do we find boundaries in it.

Our Indus is a river which carries the holiness of the Hindu’s penance from the Himalaya’s along with the sacred chants of the Buddhist Lamas, courses its way through the fertile land of the holy Gurdwaras to enter Islam’s promised land of Pakistan and finally flows into the sea of the Arabs. Our India is a Sufi.

Good Night and Good Luck !

Note : Its always a very confusing experience to understand India and I can see my view of it changing every minute I wrote this post. I might be contradicting myself at times but that I believe is the fun of the whole exercise.

I found this touching piece by Alakananda, another collateral damage of building borders.

25 Responses to Our India is a Sufi

  1. Anonymous December 21, 2006 at 6:41 pm #

    “We have deep running prejudices against each other”

    thts true – one thing we agree to

  2. Vihttp://vivalavi.wordpress.com December 21, 2006 at 6:41 pm #

    I’ve often wondered about this myself. Will my parents’ hatred be passed down to me? Will I feel the same way about other races and castes? So far the answer is no, but maybe there’s something there, deeper in my subconcious and I’m too blinded to see it…

    It’s great to see this so well-written and very well thought out.

  3. b v n December 21, 2006 at 10:48 pm #

    Vi, thats right,the point is we live in a world quite far away. And thank you for the comment :)

    Anon, I agree with you. Its only when you realize the amount of prejudices within you that you find how complex the nation is.

  4. Sujatha December 22, 2006 at 1:38 am #

    I first came by your blogs while googling on Bhotmange. I was totally impressed. I went on to read your hilarious travelog.

    So I visit your blog site every day.

    Why is that every fucking liberal, every fucking “Marxist” so in love with Ganhdi and Martin Luther King? Do you guys ever really analyze what they stood for? I am refering to your “We can deny Gandhi blah blah blah…but the underlying love in their message….”

    Its the same with all you guys: Arundhati Roy, Pankaj Mishra, and you.

  5. Sujatha December 22, 2006 at 4:37 am #

    This was how Gandhi felt about South Africans:

    “Clause 200 makes provision for registration of persons belonging to uncivilized races, resident and employed within the Borough. One can understand the necessity of registration of Kaffirs who will not work, but why should registration be required for Indians?” (Indian Opinion March 18, 1905)

    “Thanks to the Court’s decision, only clean Indians or colored people other than Kaffirs, can now travel in the trains.” (Indian Opinion — June 2, 1906)

    “In the instance of fire-arms, the Asiatic has been most improperly bracketed with the natives.” (Gandhi writing on a fire arms bill. Indian Opinion March 25, 1905.)

    By the way this the same theme of Patel protests when Indians in the US suffer police brutality. “Why us? We are hardworking, tax-paying people unlike blacks and Puerto Ricans.”

    On and on.

    Gandhi and untouchables:

    This was from my Hindi lesson in 9th class:
    “When a mother is cleans her infant (when it shits) at that moment she is unclean. But once when she’s done cleaning, she is clean…… This is the same with Bhangis. When they clean the latrines they are unclean. But once they finished their duty, they are just like you and me….”

    Gandhi never proposed abolition of caste system. He only sought to prettify it. His agenda was to keep the untouchables within the Hindu fold. He was not a secularist. Back in 1910, when there was question of legislative representation, it was going to be based on the majority religion. The muslims, who were fewer in numbers, then contended that untouchables should not be counted as Hindus, as Hindus despise them and keep them outside the villages. This was when the whole thing of wooing the untouchables, and trying to (pretend to) champion their cause began.
    For example (this covers two points—Gandhi’s “secularism”, and his “love” of untouchables).
    “M.K. Gandhi was recorded by Mahadev Desai as saying that his opposition to separate electorates for the untouchables was based on the fear that untouchable hooligans will make a common cause with muslims and kill caste Hindus.” (Cited in From Untouchable to Dalit by Eleanor Zelliot.)

    In the 1930s, in the village of Chakawara, in the state of Jaipur, an untouchable, upon returning from religious piligrimage arranged a feast for the other untouchables. In that feast he served them ghee. When the caste Hindus found out about it they attacked the untouchables who sat down to eat. They beat them up with sticks and stomped on their food. Hearing about Gandhi’s fervor for untouchable cause, the untouchables of Chakawar went to Gandhi who chastised them for causing violence by attempting to eat what was forbidden to them.

    On and on and on.

    Gandhi and secularism:

    Is covered in the Gandhi and untouchables.

    Gandhi, Nehru, Jinnah, Congress, the Muslim League, British imperialists, British Communist Party and the Moscow Stalinists were all responsible for the unimaginable bloodbath that was partition.

    Finally, the thing that Gandhi is most known for: Freedom. It is nothing but nonsense. He was through and through a lackey of the imperialists.

    Above all one can easily see–if one tries to–that he was friends of the Indian bourgeoisie, the Tatas and the Birlas, despite his attempts to pull his loin cloth over peoples’ eyes.

  6. Sujatha December 22, 2006 at 4:38 am #

    Martin Luther King:

    Martin Luther King, like Gandhi was a religious obscurantist.
    His imitaation Gandhi was deliberate (it isn’t true that he didn’t know the true colors of Gandhi. They were birds of a feather.) The non-violent thing was useful in disarming the blacks from defending themselves. His was the strategy of moral presuation, not real struggle. His was the strategy that was totally impotent in changing the basic economic conditions that breed racism. His was the strategy to tie the Civil Rights struggle to the Democratic party which is the other party of the property.
    No wonder the liberal white folks love to sit in their comfy sofas sipping whatever it is they sip and eulogize Martin Luther King.

  7. b v n December 22, 2006 at 5:38 am #

    Sujata, that was quite insightful, are you one of those types that deny everything ? Well you can deny Mr.King and Gandhi but as far as my understanding *which could be limited as I rely completely on written or online materials* goes, I believe that these two people understood their nations more than anyone else. I do believe Gandhi was an astute politician and a human being than an avatar of Vishnu or something who knew from day one what he was doing. Gandhi wasn’t an activist from day one and his world view changed with his experiences like any normal human being. He experimented a lot and compromised a lot – thats exactly what Mr.King also did. He needed something that could capture the imagination of the nation; to an extent it was ritualistic but ‘satyagraha’ was based on the core strength of India – Spirituality. Mr.King understood gandhi’s idea of a spiritual rewind to the pre-industrial-revolution christian spirituality.That exactly what he preached.

    Gandhi and Caste – did you say “abolition” of caste ? like abolition of sati and liquor ? thats pitiful and doesn’t deserve a reply

    btw what do you think. Gandhi should have given an all out call for armed struggle – “If you succumb to the temptation of using violence in your struggle, unborn generations will be the recipients of a long and desolate night of bitterness” – are you sane enough to understand this ? have you heard of a colossal failure called Yasser Arafat ?

    You said “The non-violent thing was useful in disarming the blacks from defending themselves” about Mr.King – do you believe an armed movement by the blacks with shotguns and molotovs would fetch them esteem in the USA. USA is the strongest thing the earth has ever seen and thats a simple fact. That clearly shows how cluttered and foggy your understanding is. Here again you are in denial – you are completely denying the rapid strides the blacks have made in the past fifty years with the movement for civil rights.
    Mr. King’s movement has made the USA a lot more senstivive – in all possible ways.

    Again, you can deny all this citing excerpts and surely it makes a good read when someone says ‘the man bit a dog’ . Then again thanks for comparing me to roy and mishra, I can’t compare you to anyone as I have no fucking Idea which whorehouse of thought you belong to.

    peace off !

  8. Anonymous December 22, 2006 at 9:52 am #

    milord,

    ur post came at a time when i was about to write on the same topic, but with a contradicting note. or may be, i might have found myself in line with you.

    the other day i was getting into the crowded train. the lady who got just b4 i did, squeezed her way inside and i was at the door. all happened in a minutes time. then i heard anther lady at the door, who cudn’t make it inside telling this staring at the one who went inside – those south indians, they are always so disgusting !!!!!!!!

    not for the fashion’s stake, but I have my own conviction that goes aganst most of the Gandhian principles. but as an Indian, i feel his biggest achievement was that he gave us an INDIA. no other leader wud have succeeded in uniting so many culturally different provinces and form the 7th largest country in the world fighting for one cause.

    u know wat, i have always felt that India is an illusion, for the very reasons u have noted down. leave apart the mullaperiyar or telgana issue that we can quantify or phusically identify. i am talking about the invisible hostility or disgust or contempt for others. we all might celebrate when india wins pakistan in the cricket field, but the next moment we will crack a sardarji joke or wonder why the biharis don’t bathe. it is the same feeling. we just acknowledge these at different planes.

    and wat u find that unites us in diversity is a kind of legerdemain that the leaders of different times play on us. but it might sustain, till the end of time. the reason being, for decades it is this feel-good patriotism that has bound us together. but it is only a claim to some glorious one sided history, beneath which are myriads of incompatabilities entwined in a too complicated way that, we choose to leave it as it is.

  9. b v n December 22, 2006 at 10:04 am #

    Nina,

    “i am talking about the invisible hostility or disgust or contempt for others” – exactly, that was my idea. we dont need wickipedia for this, i can look at myself and say how prejudiced i am about rest of india and how ingnorant too. But then isn’t it human nature ? as i put in the foot note,its a thought that reached nowhere.

    But is it the “feel-good-patriotism” that holds us together ? I think there is something beyond that. Why do i feel happy when i see the pakistani in my local subway restaurant ? its not patriotism,not race – he is a punjabi, not religion, not language – he speaks urdu. i suspect there is something running in the sub-continent which is well beyond all this. something as vague as a sufi saint’s extra sensory vision.like magic :-), finding that might be discovery of india :-)

    Neways you post,lets see if we can find anything.

  10. Anonymous December 22, 2006 at 10:32 am #

    @sujatha
    I have to say that I agree with you on most of the points. For that matter there are points I can add to what you have cited.

    I remember havind read in this books called Moolyangalude Kuzhamarichil by Nithya Chaithanaya Yathi that Gandhi was proud that he never touched a plate used by an untouchable friend with his lips. He also says that he would have killed if his daughter(if he had one) ever chose to marry a Muslim.

    Even when he was in SA, it was his underlying caste pride that urged him to speak for Indians. (‘cos he absolutely ignored or was OK with the blacks undergoing the same plight). I feel what made Gandhi the kind of hero he is now is the same mystic feeling that gather so many foreigners in the Satya Sai Baba or Matha Amrithananda mayi Ashram. But in his case he was using the same techniques or Indian “knowledge” or watever mystery for a new cause – a political one.

    But as I have written in my earlier comment, it would not have been possible to have a feeling like India, if it were not Gandhi. whether he was a hypocrite or a shrewd politician, the only voice that could stir the whole nation was only his. none of us had lived in that era. all we can rely on is the history. and it says the entire nation marched behind him. we can always show a Subhash Candra Bose or an Ambedkar, but with due respect to all of them, how much ever right or just they were, it was Gandhi whom the people trusted. Without Gandhi, the British wud have give frredom to a Sindh, a Punjab or a Malabar. They might still have been ruling some small province here or there. Whoever gandhi was, that is a fact. And he rightky deserves the credit.

    I am afraid I have not much knowledge about Mr King, and I would like to keep quiet there.

    Strongly agreeing with you in your over all point, I have a question. Where does the “Marxist” come in the picture like you have vociferously voiced? If you are counting the leftist roaming around now, I guess you are misquoting. Else, pls explain. I just want to understand. And I assure you, me being a staunch leftist will not blind me from the truth.

    Its the same with all you guys: Arundhati Roy, Pankaj Mishra, and you.

    I am trilled that you took bvn’s name along with the stalwarts. I admire him for both his unique writing skills and his thought process. But it was, I am sorry to say, a low quality emotional display. You were just carried away.

    @b v n

    Gandhi wasn’t an activist from day one and his world view changed with his experiences like any normal human being.

    Sorry milord, but i think he was a hard core activist from day one and his view hardly changed. he always had his prejudices and he forced those on himself and those who blindly followed him too.

    He experimented a lot and compromised a lot

    The first part is taken. But when did he compromise. Bose had to step down from INC, even though he was elected just to satisfy Gandhi’s ego. On his personal front, I wouldn’t want to comment.

    He needed something that could capture the imagination of the nation; to an extent it was ritualistic but ‘satyagraha’ was based on the core strength of India – Spirituality

    100% and this is where you contradict yourself. We are saying he was juat another shrewd politician. Not the kind of Mahatma he is projected to be. He knew spirituality is what sells in India. and he knew that is what sells about India.

    btw what do you think. Gandhi should have given an all out call for armed struggle

    I am not sure. His way of things worked for sure. Though I doubt if it was the Gandian struggle or the poor economic situation at Britian after the world war or Clement Atley’s general liberal view that made them leave the country. Didn’t it still cause a huge loss of human life? YES, it did. Doesn’t the partition or other backlogs still cause voilence, though I wudn’t dare say that he is solely responsible for all that. But he IS responsible to some extent.

    Last but not the least – peace milord peace. I revere you like some historical figures who still make me “boil” my blood. But I hope you understand having respect or or similar thoughts/ideology don’t preclude the possiblity of a difference in opinion. Excellent you post is, but weaker are your counter arguments here. Lets toast for world peace ;)))))))

    ~ You know me very well.

  11. b v n December 22, 2006 at 11:14 am #

    Nina, I don’t fully agree with you but would rather give you the final word. *for world peace* :-)

    Except for the satyagraha part that you commented, cause thats all that i meant when i mentioned Gandhi in the post. I do not read Gandhi as a politician like Advani who used religion for winning power. Gandhi formulated satyagraha and other ways of struggle after having a clear understanding of history and its course. The sheer brilliance of the idea itself apart, he was able to percolate that into a non-existent indian polity at that time – thereby creating one. He nutured a national spirit like a father taking care of his kids.without him, India may have become free but the colonial legacy would have made us some banana republic. Partition was surely a failure, but was it gandhi’s or did we as a nation fail him ? why is it that the mob is always correct and leaders are wrong.

    i may not be coming out too clear here, but you are looking at a person who knew the strength of the nation and who knew how to tap it in a sustainable way. Gandhi’s method remains valid even today long after the british are gone because his methods asked the very question – freedom from what ? If india has sanity in its polity today, its ’cause his blood was spilled.because that man died for us. this is my strong belief.

    About difference of opinion, thats welcome in THIS blog. i’m too fond of comments, then you know me very well :)

    cuttis illa, mindame :)

  12. Anonymous December 22, 2006 at 3:39 pm #

    Now we are almost in agreement and this time you are better than the last tirade ;)))))

    When I say he was a politician, I don’t count him along Advani or Sonia Gandhi. He, sure had a larger and better vision. I still find it unbelievable that he didn’t covet power. (Although he virtually enjoyed an autonomy in the pre-independence times, he wudn’t have got that privilege with the Nehru Govt)

    My only contention is that I, personally, don’t think he shud be glorified as a humanitarian. That is how we are presented him with most of the times. Even when he called the lower caste people (I am as it is against the use of the “lower caste” term, but right now I don’t get a replacement), he wasn’t free of the caste system himself. Even when he projected a secular image, he was a Hindu fundamentalist underneath. He didn’t want a Hindu rashtra, but his Rama Rajya was clearly Hindu. He wasn’t for partition. But his “mauna vrath” on the day Nehru went for his permission is equally notorious (may be he knew that was inevitable).

    But ya, you are right. May be I shudn’t say he was partly responsible for the communal killings. I take that back.

    When you say he died for us, i take it as – He fought for us, he lived for us. (‘cos he died as Godse and his allies cudn’t recognise the hard core Hindu in him. it was an unfortunate “mis-understanding” that led to his death).

    I am not anti-Gandhi. I just don’t keep an image of his that our new papers and text books give us. That is all.

    I think we both agree at one point. We have an India, ‘cos we had a Gandhi.

    I think you are right in saying he asked -freedom from what? His struggle was not just to free us from the British. His ways might look out of place now, but its meaning can still be useful, in a broader plane. May be we are all still fighting it out, stuck to the Gandhian era. May be we shud know how shud we adapt.

    I guess, now I am contradicting myself. ;)))

    On a different note:- you are not supposed to fight it out by making some creepy scraps in Orkut ;)))

  13. Sujatha December 22, 2006 at 6:21 pm #

    Hi All,
    I am at work and got things to fix.
    But for the time being, let me say this:
    I was very pleased to see real discussion. Not prejudice and rage and censorship. (Can’t say preconceived notions.)

    So my reply will follow this evening.

  14. Sujatha December 22, 2006 at 9:44 pm #

    It looks like I have committed blasphemy here by calling Gandhi a racist and a casteist religious obscurantist lackey of the imperialists.
    Your response is so off , let me see where to begin.
    What is the point of calling my response “insightful” if your very next words accuse me of being one of those persons who deny everything? If this inconsistency is due to fact that it is meant to be sarcastic then we all can ignore it. But if it is something else, it would be useful to know.
    Let’s say there is a real polemical point in your accusation. But how does that matter? Based on what do you call me “one of those people who deny everything”? Just because I didn’t agree that Gandhi and MLK were great people, I am a person who denies everything? Is there something inherently wrong with denying everything? How is it relevant here?
    You say you derived all your ideas based completely on written or online materials. As opposed to what? Movies? Hearsay? Again, is this designed to hurt my feelings? If so, it was quite useless.
    I am the one who consistently quoted from “written” material. Not you. I have more than amply supplied my sources and dates. Whereas you did nothing of that sort. And yes, your understanding based on popular spineless fashion of the liberals rather, than written or on-line material doesn’t go very far.
    On the one hand you were all mawkishing all over the place about the nationalistic prejudice, but now you praise those two men for “understanding their nations”. Be consistent man.
    You really have nothing to respond other than to going back in circles about how Gandhi is a human/humanistic/humanitarian/humanoid/ all variants of human. It isn’t a big relief or concession that you were rational enough to not think Gandhi an avatar of Vishnu. If it were the case, your blog is not worth responding to.
    Oh, I see! Your endless evocation of human* is to show he may have been a racist like a normal human being at the time when he was in SA but, like a good human being he realized his follies later on. Pray tell where the proof of that lies.
    What is spirituality? Is this something we can eat? Or it is something we can take shelter under to protect us from rain, sun, cold? Is this good in bed? What the fuck is that? Oh, Spirituality! That sounds so sublime! You don’t know what the fuck it is. Do you?
    You wrote, “….did you say “abolition” of caste ? like abolition of sati and liquor ? thats pitiful and doesn’t deserve a reply.” What does this mean? Does this mean you don’t know what to say? Yeah. I mean ABOLITION of caste. Not keep it and make it pretty! For all I can guess you are writing some computer programs somewhere in Miami. So I have great hope that you can understand the difference.

    Do I think Gandhi should have given an all out call for armed struggle? No I don’t expect Gandhi to have done anything different. A mongoose doesn’t expect something different from a snake. The reason I have responded to this in the first place is that there are many subjectively good youth who are looking around to see how the injustices in the world can be corrected. And they look to Gandhi’s preachings just because they heard somewhere from someone that he was a “humanitarian”. It would be useful to discuss Gandhi’s true politics in order for them to know.
    By the way, opposition to Gandhi’s non-violence does not = advocating armed struggle. Have you heard of general strikes? Do you know what they are?
    And yeah, I am too sane to fall for your mawkish poetic bullshit: “If you succumb to the temptation of using violence in your struggle, unborn generations will be the recipients of a long and desolate night of bitterness.” Arafat did not fail because of violence nor did he fail because of too little violence. The middle-east problem is far too complex than violence or lack there of. It was because the Palestinian working class is virtually non-existent and the Hebrew speaking workers are too tied to the Zionist ideology. It is also the bankruptcy of the Arab nationalism. By the way, if you want to proffer Gandhi as a man who stood for justice this is what you could offer. He opposed Israel’s occupation of Palestine. (See! I am not one of those people who deny everything.)
    “…do you believe an armed movement by the blacks with shotguns and molotovs would fetch them esteem in the USA.” Why don’t you go and get yourself this book “Negroes with Guns”? (By the way it is “written” material) and learn how some blacks defended themselves against the KKK?
    Again self-defense is not the same as armed struggle.
    At the same time arming oneself for self-defense is not enough. As you pointed out the USA is the strongest thing on earth. But there is what is called working class. It has no military, no weapons. But it has social power. In New York, last year the transit workers went on a three-day strike. The world’s financial center came to a screeching halt. This strike was called for a better contract. But if the workers can bring this kind of power to bear on behalf of the oppressed. That is what is needed. Neither Gandhi type non-violence nor Mao type armed struggle. The USA with all its weapons and nukes does not run the trains. (If they do then they would become the working class.) (I know, very well, the very mention of working class churns your stomach and makes you want to throw up, I have witnessed your ilk doing the same.)
    “The rapid strides the blacks have made in the past fifty years with the movement for civil rights” have still left the blacks to be the last hired and first fired. Those so-called strides still pushed them to ghettos. The war on drugs is a synonym for war on black youth. The death-row is overwhelmingly populated by black men. Go study the dynamics of Katrina. So may be for you who probably came from a privileged background from Kerala, these strides are not only very rapid but also quite sufficient. Not for the millions of blacks suffering from racism and poverty.
    Scratch a liberal what you get is people like you.
    I already anticipated that you or others would be tickled by my comparison with Roy and Mishra. That’s your headache. Not mine. I don’t care for either of them.
    Finally who is the whore? You or me?
    When you want to appeal to the johns from the socialist wing you govoreet slovos like “capitalist bourgeois” (your words from your original post) and then we find out that you are really a lover of capitalist Gandhi and capitalist King.
    IN THE END WHAT HAVE YOU GOT TO SAY TO THE QUOTES FROM THE INDIAN OPINION AND ELEANOR ZELLIOT?
    OBVIOUSLY NOTHING!
    (I am sure you would totally censor this.)

  15. b v n December 22, 2006 at 9:46 pm #

    @ Sujata, I’m partying tonight and got stuff to arrange, I’ll reply to this in case I feel like.

  16. Sujatha December 24, 2006 at 11:19 pm #

    Anonym,

    I am interested to know about this book you mentioned. Moolyangalude Kuzhamarichil. Unfortunately I cannot read Malayalam or Tamil (which one is it written in?) But could you tell me more about it?
    I am also curious that you mentioned mullaperiyar and telgana. I guess you mean Telangana??
    I will have to differ with you on the point that without Gandhi there would have been no India. First of all India is not one nation. It is a prisonhouse of nations. There is Kashmir issue raging in the northwest and then there are the seven northeastern nationalities struggling for autonomy. We will come back to the issue of nationalities later, but let me get back to the point of how without Gandhi there would have been no India. At the time Gandhi was aborting movement after movement—the very movements he himself gave a call for—because the masses’ political consciousness far exceeded his intentions, there were huge strikes going on in Bombay and elsewhere. One great strike that comes to my mind is Bombay mutiny (it wasn’t just a mutiny, it was a strike as well) by the Indian sailors in Royal Indian Navy. This strike quickly spread to many major industrial cities across India. There was a definite revolutionary situation in India at the time. In one British journal I saw this great picture of thousands of peasant from Punjab marching under the red flag. This kind of situation would surely have thrown up leaders to lead India to a different destiny. Leaders are made by movements, not the other way round.

    In fact this is one of the reasons that the British were prepared to transfer power to the Brown Babus. If India were to go the way of the USSR it would have been lost—if not forever—for decades to the capitalist camp. What would they rather have, a socialist India which would be a thorn in their side or ostensibly “free” capitalist India?
    So it is not all Gandhi’s credit the “we” “got INDIA.” The British knew what Gandhi really was.
    The other reason that the British had to quickly transfer power was that the world power, during WWII had begun to shift from Britain to the USA. The Americans really wanted a share of the loot. That was why Roosevelt was having so many photo ops with Chang Kai-shek in China and Nehru in India.

    Anyway, Gandhi got all the press. Because they wanted Gandhi to be the leader. Both the British imperialists and the budding Indian bourgeoisie. Gandhi became the leader because he was chosen to be the leader.

    About where the “Marxist” come in picture:
    I saw “capitalist bourgeoisie” in BVN’s original post. I thought he was a Marxist. I hardly expect capitalists to blame capitalist bourgeoisie for bad things.

    I certainly think that BVN is an awesome writer. From his previous blogs. I don’t enjoy poetic, rhetoric stuff. Usually it replaces real discussion. In any case, that is my personal taste. This is the reason that Arundhati Roy’s writing makes the hair on my body stand up. (But amazingly, this sort of stuff seems to be eagerly lapped up.) And as she writes more and more I find more and more that she’s got nothing to say. She seems to think that her sly mention of god as “she” instead of “he” makes a whole lot of difference in the condition of the world. Well, why doesn’t she tell that there is no such thing as god!
    Unfortunately all the smackings that her head receives come from blows from the right. Not the left.

    On the other hand Pankaj Mishra is a good writer and does research his stuff thoroughly. My only problem is his blind spots (for example, Gandhi) which all non Marxists (and even some who claim to be Marxists) are bound to have.

    Gandhi is in a league above Sonia Gandhi and Advani in the sense that he provided a prototype leadership where masses struggled to throw away the imperialist yoke. He was the model for leaders who sabotage struggles. Martin Luther King and Mandela. Sonia Gandhi and Advani have provided no such prototypes. Advani follows Hitler and Sonia, who knows? She’s nothing.

    As for whether Gandhi was responsible for partition. Yes. Definitely. Even though I included Jinnah in the list of people responsible, he was far less responsible than Gandhi was. Jinnah did not originally want partition. He wanted some kind of autonomy or separate electorate for muslims. It was Gandhi who was hell-bent on forging a Hindu dominated Indian republic. That genocide was completely foreseen. Gandhi was directly responsible for the massacre of 3 million muslims, Hindus and Sikhs.

    What is creepy scraps in Orkut?

  17. Sujatha December 25, 2006 at 2:53 am #

    By the way I have not seen anywhere anti-Gandhi vogue that you mentioned. Every where, on the trains, in the planes, on the campuses, in the rallies, in the marches, it is the weak-assed Utopian youth reading books glorifying Gandhi.

  18. b v n December 25, 2006 at 6:28 am #

    Hi All,

    I’ve been off Net for like last two days and thats why it took time to publish the comments and reply to mails on this thread here.

    @ Sujata, I got a few mails and some offline tit-bits from guys who are quite impressed with your views, so if it was a hit-job on Gandhi that you intended, atleast among the small group of people who visit this space, its a job well done.

    In my reply to your comment, I had used the word ‘insightful’ , it was not sarcastic. you had taken up gandhi and the untouchables along with the national movement and at the sametime brought up the issue of blacks in the US. When question of freedom came up in these two countries, this was one thing that jutted out and was debated. the founding fathers of both nations vs people like samuel jackson and Ambedkar.And you drove home your point citing facts which most people dont do – that was impressive. Though i want to add here that, the facts were one sided, filtered and a clear case of pick and choose to suit your rhetoric. I dont have issues there as I’m not buying even a single argument of yours, I would have been thrilled by this one sided rhetoric when i was thirteen, but thats a long time ago.

    Yes, I am from Kerala writing code in Miami and from a privileged background where Ambedkar is often refferred to as a sonofabitch, Gandhi too, though not that often. You had mentioned you read my ‘bhotmange’ post and I guess you understand what the point of that whole post is. You dont need to profile me while reading my posts, that too coming from a person who has not enabled his profile it sounds a bit like spit and run. I’m not elaborating on this, you know why.

    This post was not about Gandhi, but about the futility of building borders, though I didn’t mind you taking it somewhere else but you can’t expect me to come there with you. Again your summary of Gandhi in your reply to Anon sounds like Shourie explaining Ambedkar in ‘false Gods’,I think Shourie’s views in that huge book is bullshit. I consider Gandhi and Ambedkar as two Indian heroes and two indian tragedies as well. If you expect me to quote any material over here, I am not going to do that.

    I believe we dont need to fight here as our world views are entirely different. I do believe in the thought process that control of sources of production and erasing of all other divisions other than the class conscience is the way forward, but at the same time I also see a world where a man takes birth, dies and in between goes through a lot of personal turbulence including relationships, sex and other insecurities. Any model that finds all its answers in one of these streams is phony – thats my opinion. In an indian context life, death and its turbulence finds its solace in spirituality – which is inherently Buddhist, sufi and Hindu. I cannot deny that ; and I dont believe in any revolution that will wipe this out and entirely replace it with something else and still be successful. It will not.

    At the same time the spirituality I am talking about has nothing to do with a mass association to any religion – it is very personal. This is where I brought in Gandhi. In an India which is still feudal in almost all ways with a middle-class torn between its capitalist moorings and feudal backgrounds, boundaries, walls and presumption of enemity with our neighbours will only play into the hands of the capitalist bourgeoise. These boundaries and walls have a xenophobic hindutva tinge. When Gandhi kept Ishwar and Allah together, he was rekindling the same fires that Buddha, the bhakti saints and the sufis had long before burnt in this country giving solace to the nation and healing its wounds.

    About your quotes from the indian opinion – 1905-08 was the time period of those quotes. I am well aware that Gandhi had opposed inter-mingling and inter-dining during the time period you are talking about. But you need to understand this – Congress – Gandhi’s medium of communication was not keen on taking up abolition of caste in a big way. I am talking about the leaders here, many exceptions notwithstanding – like CR and Kelappan. Gandhi had a life long struggle with Congress and there are several accounts where the Congress leaders were opposed to Gandhi’s single minded devotion to the upliftment of Dalits, they wanted an all-out fight for non-british rule. You could interpret the term “upliftment” as paternalistic, but with my personal experiences with the marxist movement in kerala – I dont think so.

    Gandhi started opposing Untouchablity but warned against inter-dining and inter-marriage, he then went on to defend inter-dining and inter-marriage by the Guruvayoor and other temple entry movements and in early fourties started propagating inter-marriage itself. This was against all odds. Yes, he has said things which could be quoted against him like you did, but I would look at the man who learnt from mistakes and pushed even harder. As he put it, his experiments with truth.

    Do you think if in 1910 Gandhi had called for abolition of caste, the caste hindus of India would oblige ? Would they even today. Can an armed revolution remove caste ? Did 1917 remove religion in Russia ? Caste which has been in place for thousands of years cannot be abolished overnight and such a change cannot be thrust upon. Every Black riot in the streets of US, makes the racial divide more strong.

    You can oppose Gandhi, the way you want, in case you are a “tagorian” oppose him on english and nationalism,a Marxist – oppose him saying why didn’t give a call for an all out class struggle, a muslim fundamentalist – oppose him saying he was a hindu fundamentalist, a hindu fundamentalist – call him a mullah, a mukri, a fakir, partitioner and also quote that 50 cr scandal and then kill him, in case you are a Nehruvian oppose him on the factory or village riddle.

    But again he was a man who went there and did it. You can look at yourself, the way you conveniently overlooked his fight for the untouchables, over-quoted, the way you called him all this,

    “Gandhi who was hell-bent on forging a Hindu dominated Indian republic”
    “Gandhi was directly responsible for the massacre of 3 million muslims, Hindus and Sikhs”
    “Because they wanted Gandhi to be the leader. Both the British imperialists and the budding Indian bourgeoisie.”

    Do read them again and admire your thought process. I’m ending the Gandhi discussion here.

    I wont call you a Shourie, but yours is a clear case of over-kill and over-quote.And in the last reply to anon, when you summarised your thoughts, man you lost it.

    btw its quite a nice night here, you know christmas eve n stuff, so lets bury the “whores” and think about the virgins and I do apologize if the “whorehouse” was offensive, actually I use it a bit.

    It was an interesting discussion and nice to have you here.

    P.S : “poetical rhetoric” – that was a good one ! i do that a lot

    and this blog does not believe in Censorship *nor anYthing else*

    @Anon,

    Hey I think I’d answered you as well :)

    Merry X’mas GUYS !!

  19. Anonymous December 25, 2006 at 6:28 am #

    @sujatha

    The book is in Malayalam and I don’t think there is an English translation. The book essentially talks about how every other philosophy has let down the human race in the long run. A small portion talks about Gandhi. In my teenage I have found this book very influential. I had read it 4 or 5 times. But the book might not add to our discussion here.

    Yes, I meant Telangana. That was just one of those non-stop spelling mistakes you will find in anything i type. ;))

    As far as the Humanitarian or idol of Gandhi goes, I am almost completely in agreement with you. In my earlier comment I have even said it was the aftermath of WW-II and Clement ATley’s claim to power that led to our freedom than the whole of our freedon struggle. (with all respect to those who fought for it here, but what made us be granted our own land at THAT time was not ‘cos just the freedom struggle)

    I also agree with your second point. Again, in my very first comment I have mentioned that the feeling India is more of an illusion.

    Now :-
    There was no India at all. It was all some province or the other. And no other national leader could organise another Quit India or Salt March. Gandhi was the ONLY one who could UNITE everyone for a single cause. Revolution and arm struggle had always been an appealing idea for youth, all over the world. In a country like India where major epics culminates in a war and success of percieved-good thru arms, a call for violance shud have brought out millions out of their homes. But Bose or Bhagat Singh couldn’t do that. But Gandhi could do that. That is his success.

    Again, i don’t think he is responsible for partition to the extent you consider him to. He knew partition was inevitable and he took his silence-vow on that day to absolve himself of giving consent to that. I can hold him responsible only in one way. As a politician he almost maintained his secular image. But he cudn’t make Jinha belong.

    For the Marxist part – so that was just a personal onslaught on bvn?? Being a great fan of his, with some considerable differences at times, I have always found him as a welcoming person for any sort of criticism. I don’t know if I am taking an extra liberty, but I feel some lines of your first comment was extremely provocative and that is what led this discussion to snoop down to a personal level at times. That is what I feel. May be he went a little out of the limits in his reply too. No more comments on that.

    Now for Roy and Mishra:-
    I haven’t read much of Mishra, so I can’t say anyting about him. For Roy, neither her fiction nor non-fiction impressess me. She has a cause, but she doesn’t really convince me with her arguments. (Sometime she is good though, like the recent campaign against the SC verdict on Parliament attack case).

    Orkut Scraps – bvn happens to be an Orkut buddy. I kinda forced him to add me as a fnd by pestering him ;))))))) Those were some friendly thretas in Orkut, totally unrelated to this post.

    I think I would like to keep off from this debate as I see this going in a personal level. Barring that, this had been a gr8 platform.

    Thanks to bvn for the post and you for the comment.

  20. neermathalam December 26, 2006 at 6:24 am #

    Ohh Jesus…
    I missed the party is all that I can say…

  21. Sujatha December 26, 2006 at 5:52 pm #

    Personal note on a few things unrelated to Gandhi:

    Firstly, me and my friends were truly impressed by your openness to discussion.

    Secondly, your friend is right. I did stoop to personalist attacks.
    I apologize for my gratuitous profiling of you. I was able to do this based entirely—except for your current location—on picture #9 of your Dec. 06, ’06 post.

    No need to apologize for the whorehouse bit as I plan to adopt it myself and use it effectively. What infuriates me in arguments is different. I could not identify this factor until I read Love Creeps. I highly recommend it to people who like laughs.

    Lastly, some serious researchers on South Asian politics thought highly enough of this discussion that they wanted to add a link to their web pages, but refrained from doing so remarking that I have not been on my best behavior here.

  22. neermathalam December 27, 2006 at 4:38 pm #

    @ BVN

    “If we do all this in the name of security and in the name of development, why dont we build walls around Assam,Kashmir,Gujarat,Manipur,Punjab and then around each state,district and finally around each human being who lives here.”

    I find it really difficult to buy this argument at its face value. May be you are right from an ivory towerish(i hate to use this word) view point,because each nation can be compared to a family in a micro level.As we fight eachother inside the family,We share a common blood relation and the anlogy here is nationalism, and every country has its dose of it.As you point out in some part of your argument that caste cannot be abolished.Same are the walls,We had walls around our houses,forts and villages,and that tradition is being followed.Castes and walls are no different one is abstract the otherone very real.

    “At the root of the problem lies the acceptance of the “majority’s culture” as the mainstream and the treatment of the minority’s culture as an aberration.
    Accepted yes this is the problem.
    What is the soultion..It is quite far,Because when you are changing the majority you should be giving an incentive to change.only thing you can offer is “eternal peace”.
    But when majority is driven by materialistic pursuits where is time for peace.Here I miss ‘General’ Gandhiji,who sold nonviolence and peace to a country.
    He is the biggest marketing guru for me.

    “The “developmental” future of the republic and its dependency on the bourgeois and foreign funds has been so ingrained in our psyche by the border-defined-republic that we are ready to sacrifice lives and livelihood for the republic’s “future”.

    But india is no island,The practicality of the approach what you are speaking is quite less.Kalam is hard selling nationalism to children.2020-India a superpower,I dont find anything wrong in it.Because to fuel a nation you need something,That something can be religion,nationalism or communism
    There are promising activists and political leaders and all become one issue wonders.

    I repeat history is victor’s diary.
    Many things which we learn that mould our thought processes might be false or fabricated lies.But how to correct them is the big question.May be that was what BJP tried(but i pity thier intentions.)We cant rewrite it,because truth is lost in time.and when lies are being inherited..walls just emerge.

    And to end….
    I just love this lines…

    “Our spirituality which time and again has refused to inherit lies,inherit hypocrisy and inherit tyranny. It is the denial of inheritance that Krishna talked about in Gita, that is exactly what Buddha did , Kabir and Nanak practiced and Gandhi died for. The partitioned India is our inheritance and it is upon us to deny it “

    Offtopic:
    It is a palada pradaman u are asking to make to a person who hardly knows to make porridge.

    @ sujatha..

    Do give acces to your profile.Would love to read your views..

  23. b v n December 27, 2006 at 10:24 pm #

    Neermathalam, I’m on agreement on most of what you said. I like tha analogy “We share a common blood relation and the analogy here is nationalism” Thats exactly my point here too. Then what is nationalism here – till 1947 we fight for one nation and die for it and then they say the nation has changed its boundaries and we need to feel proud about another nation, then again they change our borders and external relations and expect us to feel proud of that. Its not me, its those ppl who define boundaries who is sitting in ivory towers. Its just a big farce called Hindu nationalism. My nation includes pakistan and bangladesh and nepal and SriLanka. They kill tamils in Lanka with our money under our flag and expects tamils in TN to feel proud of it, to sing vande mataram. Thats bullshit man.They incite the akalis and then kill them and raze their temple and while all this bullshit is happening they want us to sing the national anthem. They kill manipuris, deny them their rights and expects us to feel good about it. Tagore turns in his grave for writing the song.

    “Castes and walls are no different one is abstract the otherone very real” – Exactly ! hence they are different. You can break walls, breaking the ideology behind wall will be gradual. Thats what caste is.

    Kalam is just a weird scientist who considers agni and prithvi as his two sons.he is a minnow. Someone else has done this act in the best possible way and actually made his country a xenophobic -developed -economically and militarily strong superpower. Name is Hitler.

    “I repeat history is victor’s diary.” – Deny it. burn the diary.

    We need history because without history there will be no nation, without a nation there will be no boundaries, without borders we cannot send our young soldiers to stand guard on those dangerous, freezing walls, if the soldiers are not standing guard at the borders whoever is creating these borders cannot SLEEP with the soldier’ young wives.

    not mine, a prophet said this, dont take it in face value :)

  24. Anonymous December 28, 2006 at 6:12 am #

    @neermathalam

    i don’t want to comment on your first point, but wud say i completely disagree. its all just a play of words. and bvn’s reply speaks clearly. (bvn, i just love your arguments)

    but on the second, who said -
    “At the root of the problem lies the acceptance of the “majority’s culture” as the mainstream and the treatment of the minority’s culture as an aberration.

    Is that taken from the post? Then I don’t know how did i miss it. right now, i don’t have the time to re-read the post or comments. forgive me for that and let me comment.

    First of all what do you mean by majority? is this the religious majority? in that case how can you say the problem is that the minority doesn’t accept the majority culture. in india, the majority religious culture itself doesn’t have a clear definition. even if it has, accepting the majorities religious ways can’t be the solution in a so-called secular country.

    minority’s culture is an aberration??? it is their way of life. and you call it an aberration? and bvn, i am amused that you said you agree with all this.

    “The “developmental” future of the republic and its dependency on the bourgeois and foreign funds has been so ingrained in our psyche by the border-defined-republic that we are ready to sacrifice lives and livelihood for the republic’s “future”.

    what bourgeois are you talking about. let us not use the term so loosely. pls make clear what did you mean?

    Because to fuel a nation you need something,That something can be religion,nationalism or communism

    if you are saying this is what the politicians do to climb the ladder, i buy it. but if you are saying – this is what is right – i beg to differ.

    india is theoratically a secular country. and if religion is to take the center stage, we will be not a super power but another Iran or Iraq by 2020.

    As Marx says, religion is the opium of the masses. we deny ladan, jihad and all the related ideologies. yet think religion shud take the centre stage !!!! is it ‘cos we don’t learn from other’s mistakes or that we decide – if the whole world eat sh*t let me do that too.

    i have some differnces about the communism part of it too, but i refrain from saying anything ‘cos i will end up too far from the topic here.

    “Our spirituality which time and again has refused to inherit lies,inherit hypocrisy and inherit tyranny. It is the denial of inheritance that Krishna talked about in Gita, that is exactly what Buddha did , Kabir and Nanak practiced and Gandhi died for. The partitioned India is our inheritance and it is upon us to deny it “

    Spirituality, whether it is ours or theirs, is a HUGE bundle of lies. something that canbe used to blind us from reality. i don’t want to offend your religious sentiments here.

    Spirituality can not unite a nation. in that case Gandhi wud not have died in religious fundementalist’s hands. Partition is a reality. ACCEPT it and live with it.

    @bvn

    once again, you just make me bow my head in admiration. but you confuse me, in the first line you say you agree with neermathalam and my understanding is that, you are denying it all in your comment.

    @to both of you

    sorry if i have misinterpreted anything. i am in a hurry. and i didn’t want to comment here again, but cudn’t resist after reading neermathalam

  25. Sujatha January 6, 2007 at 5:52 pm #

    I am not sure I understand what your argument here is. Do you mean that a nation is like a family in which the members have issues with each other, but nevertheless, they are one family? Or, are you saying this is bvn’s argument?

    In any case, what constitutes this social family in the analogy?
    In fact, what constitutes a real family to which this social family has been compared to?

    There used to be joint families, and now there are nuclear families. In future it may be something entirely different. In the days of the joint family that was the only type of family that was god-given, immutable, and eternal. But we found out it is not the case. So even in the case of “real” family the definition changed depending on the social development.

    So, to get down to the brass tacks, one must have solid criteria to say what kind of things determine the basis for unity.

    One might say that we must unite on the basis of religion, so that all Hindus should be in one country, despite the fact that there are language, gender, caste, and class divisions within Hindus. And all the Muslims should make up another country in which the rich, poor, Arab, Persian, Albanian, Turkish, Indian, Pakistani, Indonesian, Sunni, Shia muslims will live together despite the fact that they would be speaking different languages.

    Then someone else might come and say, “No. We must organize the society along gender lines, so that all women will constitute one country and all men another.”

    Then someone else might say, “No, we must draw the line between races, so that all the blacks will have one country, and all the whites another, and all the far-east people yet another.”

    Or else, one could say it must be students separated from the employed.

    But as we know this is not how this works.
    And, of course, there cannot be one country for each person, even if people fight endlessly with one another.

    Only certain types of divisions work and not others. And the ones that are possible, become possible because there is material basis for formation of those groups. It is not just in the minds of people.

    A single person cannot produce rice, and dal, and make farm implements in order to till the land to grow rice and dal, and feed the buffalos that he uses to plow his piece of land, and cannot give them antibiotic injections when they come down with some infection of the buffalos, and he cannot weave clothes for himself.

    Students cannot do everything necessary to survive all by themselves. Nor can men, or women.
    It is this material basis, as opposed to consciousness/mind/prejudices of the people that necessitates the formation of division/unity in human societies.

    This is how you can also explain the castes in Indian feudal system. Food needed to be grown, land needed to be tilled. If every man had his own piece of land, then every man would work on his own land and there would be no one to make farm implements, care for the buffalos, to make pots to cook food in, and above all there would be no large group of people who would never think of owning their own piece of land and whose lot it is to work as slaves on the landlord’s farm for nothing and think that it was his fate to be treated as less than filth. This is the material basis of the caste system. A form of division of labor, albeit based on ruthless exploitation and oppression. And in order to make these large group of people willingly agree that they cannot practice any other occupation than that was needed of them, an elaborate ideological justification was put into place (all that stuff about how the Brahmins came from the mouth or head or whatever of Brahma, and the Kshatriyas from the arms, and whatnot. Sudras cannot go to school to learn reading and writing, etc. And then cows are needed for farm work, so killing them would be unprofitable. So the whole religious superstitious nonsense about cow is god, killing it is maha pathakam.)

    Because of this-that there is a material necessity to organize society in such a way–we cannot abolish caste system by law, or by forcing every one to be tolerant, and cajoling them to change their minds, and mend their ways. Or giving new names to replace “untouchable” and calling them children of god—harijan. We cannot abolish caste by being good persons, free of poisonous prejudice ourselves or teaching our children to not have prejudices or by making it one’s ideal to marry from lower castes.
    Al though these things are very good (except the harijan), the material basis for the caste must be dealt with in order to emancipate untouchables and low castes.

    Now coming to the question of modern nations and patriotism and borders and all that, these notions are peculiar to the epoch of rise of capitalism, after its victory over feudalism. Capitalists want not only their local market but they want to expand to large territory to conduct their trade. The want stale political entity where they can do business. They want to consolidate nations. They don’t want to deal with new languages, new tax systems in new towns. They want to consolidate a nation based on common language, culture, psychological makeup, and above all, common economic life. This is the material basis for formation of nations.

    Now, in the West, where the bourgeois revolutions occurred first and where they were more or less complete, they have solved the nationality question. For example, France.

    But the same thing did not happen in their colonies, like India, and the mess that is Iraq and the entire middle east. Not only did it not happen, but also it was deliberately obstructed by the imperialist countries who have no interest in seeing the same revolution become successful in these colonies. It is not just a mistake, it was deliberate scheme on the part of the British. The Partition, the Israel-Palestine problem, Syria, Iraq, all these problems were deliberate policy of the British imperialists. It wasn’t as if they did something by mistake and later when millions were massacred, they bit their fingers and said, “oops!”

    As for India/Pakistan/Bangladesh border disputes, it reflects the struggle of the respective bourgeoisie to consolidate nations in order for them to develop an efficient capitalist society.
    In India there is no basis to consolidate such a nation, because of different languages, different cultures. The only basis they had was caste groups from their feudal origins.
    The rise of Hindu fundamentalism, the RSS and the BJP also has a material basis. Now that the markets are opened up, the aspiring capitalists want a huge territory in which they want to forge basis for a nation. As I mentioned before it needs a common language, common culture, common economic life and psychological makeup. And they lack the very first criterion. The language. For years the northern Hindi speaking capitalists tried to impose Hindi for this purpose. Now they latched on to Hinduism as a basis for unifying all the disparate nations. The attacks on tribals who are technically not Hindus, and attacks on Christian missionaries, and anti-Muslim pogroms must be understood from this perspective. Nothing happens for no reason. They don’t suddenly decide, “Let us attack Christians. Let us roast the Australian missionary and his two young sons alive.”

    So socialists draw a different kind of line. They draw the class line. They say the workers of the world are on one side and capitalists/imperialists on the other.
    This is the only basis for unity that will take the human society forward.

    As for the argument that a nation is like a family which has internal strife, but nonetheless a unit—then what corresponds to what? The uppercaste Hindu majority is the father of the family who beats up on his wife and his children—the muslims and the myriad low castes? Are the Tatas and the Birlas the father who controls everything and the workers and the peasants the widows of the family who do all the cooking and cleaning and have nothing? I think it is kind of unpleasant to make this analogy.

    Again one must understand the material basis. It is not the “psyche” that is ingrained in us to depend on the bourgeois and foreign funds. It is the reality that India entered the capitalist playground late and it will not be allowed to advance in the same manner as Britain and France could. They will not allow it. Why would they want another rival in the quest for global markets?

    Patriotism may sound like a noble moral but it ain’t. It wasn’t a value from times immemorial. It wasn’t god-given or immutable or eternal just like the joint family. They both belong to certain historical epochs.

    Is this a joke or you really love these lines?

    I just love this lines…

    “Our spirituality which time and again has refused to inherit lies,inherit hypocrisy and inherit tyranny. It is the denial of inheritance that Krishna talked about in Gita, that is exactly what Buddha did , Kabir and Nanak practiced and Gandhi died for. The partitioned India is our inheritance and it is upon us to deny it ”

    As for my profile, I am not a blogger. I am not even sure I am using this terminology correctly. I never wrote anything on the internet. If you are interested I can send you a couple of things I wrote: one on Indian elections in May 2004, and another on Tsuanmi.

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